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Commentary On Jeremiah And Lamentations Volume 4 by Jean Calvin

Jeremiah 38:27

27. Then came all the princes unto Jeremiah, and asked him: and he told them according to all these words that the king had commanded. So they left off speaking with him; for the matter was not perceived.

27. Et venerunt cuncti proceres ad Jeremiam, et interrogarunt ipsum; et annuntiavit illis (hoc est, narravit illis) secundum sermones istos, quemadmodum praeceperat rex, et siluerunt ab eo, quia sermo non fuit auditus.

Here, indeed, the Prophet confesses that he did as the king had commanded him; but he does not commend what he had done. There is no doubt but that on the one hand he placed before his eyes the timidity of the king, who, being forgetful of plain dealing, slavishly feared his own counselors; and that., on the other hand, he manifested that he was not sufficiently discreet, for when the princes came, even if he wished not to deceive them, he yet concealed the main thing, and said that he went to the king to pray for his own life, which was not true. Though then what he said was in part true, that he prayed not. to be sent back to prison, yet he could not by this evasion be wholly exempted from blame.

In short, we see that even God's servants have sometimes spoken evasively, when oppressed with extreme fear; and thus we are reminded to seek of God magnanimity of mind and resolute firmness; for he alone can strengthen and sustain us when we are terrified by any fear of danger.

He says, that he did as the king had commanded him; but he ought rather to have hearkened to God's word, in which simplicity is enjoined. It is also said, that the princes were silent, that is, departed in silence; for no one had been a witness to the conference, and the matter had not spread farther; for the king was silent through fear, and the Prophet also had not made known the secret interview. Hence it was that the princes departed, and thought that the matter was as represented. In short, Jeremiah intimates that they were deceived by this pretext. It follows at last, --

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